Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Lofty Level of Eretz Yisrael

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, zt”l, emphasized the great importance of coming to Israel, even saying that this is the main objective of every Jew. When Rav Nosson, zt”l, asked him what he meant, he replied, “I mean the physical land...”
When Rav Aharon Menachem Mendel of Radzimin, zt”l, returned from his final visit to Eretz Yisrael, he could not stop enthusiastically praising the land. “The new Torah thoughts that I developed in the holy land were much deeper and I gained great insight that I never had before. Even the air and the earth and the sun shining in Eretz Yisrael are completely different than outside the land.”
When his student Rav Yisrael Weinstock, zt”l, asked him what he meant by this statement, the Rebbe responded unequivocally. “This can be compared to Shabbos kodesh. Even the simplest Jew experiences a difference even in the physical world on Shabbos. Even the wall of a person’s home is completely different during Shabbos, and the same is true of the physical matter of Eretz Yisrael.”
But Rav Weinstock was unsure what he meant by this explanation and continued to question. “But what does the Rebbe really mean?”
“I do not mean deep spiritual concepts that are abstract and mystical. I simply mean every person’s perception of the physical. Even the simplest Jew sees that everything is different on Shabbos, since everyone becomes very different then. The same is true regarding Eretz Yisrael.”
These sentiments were shared by Rav Chaim Brim, zt”l. His love for Eretz Yisrael was so intense that whenever he had to leave Israel he observed the same custom. Before boarding the plane—or immediately after disembarking on his return trips—he would spread out something on the ground, prostrate himself and kiss the holy earth of Eretz Yisrael.
Interestingly, the Chessed L'Avraham, zt"l, writes that the angel of death only operates outside Eretz Yisrael. Inside Eretz Yisrael, people leave the world in a much loftier manner. This is not only true for tzaddikim, who die misas neshikah. Even simple people who sincerely want to serve Hashem, leave the world in a much higher way.

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